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Joe South dies at 72

Thursday, September 6, 2012 – Joe South, a singer and songwriter who had hits with (I Never Promised You A) Rose Garden and Games People Play, died Tuesday at his home in Buford, Ga. on Wednesday of heart failure. South was 72.

South, born Joe Souter in Atlanta, had a novelty hit in 1958 with The Purple People Eater Meets the Witch Doctor. He later had songs recorded by Gene Vincent and was a sideman for Aretha Franklin (Chain of Fools) and on Bob Dylan's "Blonde on Blonde" album.

South first made the country chart in 1961 with You're the Reason<, which made it to 16. Eight years later, he charted with Don't It Make You Want To Go Home. Walk A Mile In My Shoes reached 56 in 1970. Elvis Presley later recorded the song.

Billy Joe Royal recorded Down in the Boondocks, I Knew You When, Yo-Yo and Hush, which later became a hit for Deep Purple.

South's best-known song may have been (I Never Promised You A) Rose Garden, a country pop hit for Lynn Anderson in 1971. Anderson won a Grammy for her vocals, while South took one for writing the song. Anderson had hits with two more South songs, How Can I Unlove You and Fool Me.

The suicide of South's brother, Tommy, in 1971, resulted in South curtailing his career. Tommy played in South's band and also helped him at recording sessions.

South was inducted in the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1979.

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